(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
Well, this is why we live in NE Washington right? To be closer to nature?
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildife has received several reports of bears frequenting a Colville neighborhood around east 10th Avenue from Cedar Street to Madison Street. The state department said conflict specialists have responded to the area several times but have been unsuccessful in tracking bears.
The bears usually come at night to take advantage of easy food sources including unsecured garbage. Much like Yogi Bear looking for that picnic basket, bears are resourceful scavengers. However, having animals like that among a community can cause conflict that authorities would like to avoid.
According to the WDFW website, black bears are the most common and widely distributed bears in North America. As human populations encroach on bear habitat – which probably is a good chunk of NE Washington regardless – people and bears have greater chances of encountering each other. Bears usually avoid people and run away but when they do come into close proximity of each other, the bear’s strength and surprising speed make it potentially dangerous.
Black bears in the western U.S. weigh 100-300 pounds, with males larger than females. They stand approximately 2.5-3 feet at the shoulder when standing on all fours, and about five feet when standing upright.
With continued bear reports in the Colville neighborhood, WDFW is asking residents to store garbage in garages or other buildings, not feeding pets outside and putting away other attractants such as bird feeders and barbecues with food residue on them.
“As long as these kinds of food sources are available, bears will continue to frequent areas they shouldn’t be in,” the WDFW said in a media statement. “There are also laws that prohibit people from leaving food or food waste where it can attract bears or other animals. While we prefer that people voluntarily secure garbage and other food sources, the law allows a fine of up to $87 for feeding bears in Washington.”
Those with bear or other wildlife concerns are encouraged to call us at (509) 892-1001.